The gastronomic richness of Italy can be compared to its artistic richness. And in this case the cheeses aren’t an exception. In Italy we don’t have only Parmigiano-Reggiano, but also Pecorino, Mozzarella, Asiago, Fontina, Gorgonzola, Ricotta and many other cheeses. So, if the Parmigiano is the king of the Italian cheeses, it is in good company anyway.
Let’s take for example the Buffalo Mozzarella. Let’s see how it is done:
before processing it, the milk is filtered so that all the impurities are gone.
They add the whey starter and the rennet for the coagulation of the milk. The temperature is 34°-38° degrees Celsius and the coagulation lasts 30 minutes. Then, they break up the curd with a “ruotolo” (it is a stick with a wooden disk). There are two phases: at first they break the curd up in cubes and then, after half an hour, they break it up again with the ruotolo.
After extracting the curd, they put it on a table to drain for 15-30 minutes.
After breaking it up, the curd is left to acidify with the whey for 3-4 hours or up to 8 hours. The quality of the mozzarella depends upon this phase. Then there is the manual shaping made by two operators, one holds the cheese and the other cuts it off (mozzarella comes from the verb “mozzare” which means “to cut off”). And then there is the salting in the brine.
If you come to see the Parmigiano production, you will realize there are similarities and differences between the Parmigiano and the Mozzarella!